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Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 10:51 PM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 10:51 PM (IST)

Verses that strike a chord

The pain, the pangs, the tragedy and the valour are best expressed in verse. War poetry, be it about the celebration of the heroic feats of soldiers and warriors or about the irony of loss of young lives, has moved hearts down the ages. Here are excerpts from classics:


Poet: Homer
Year: 8th century BC


Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men: as one generation comes to life, another dies away.

In Flanders Fields

Poet: John McCrae
Published: 1915


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Dulce et Decorum est

Poet: Wilfred Owen
Published: 1920


If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the 
froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as 
the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on 
innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not tell 
with such high zest
To children ardent for some 
desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et 
decorum est

The Man He Killed

Poet: Thomas Hardy
Published: 1902


"Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown."

The Soldier

Poet: Rupert Brooke
Published: 1914


If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a 
foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

The Shield of Achilles

Poet: W. H. Auden
Published: 1952


Column by column in 
a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring 
a belief
Whose logic brought them, 
somewhere else, to grief.


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